George worked as a face-to-face fundraiser for many charities and has been fundraising for the last 15 years. He enjoys working for various charities and meeting new people. He’s passionate about ending homelessness.
“I’ve worked as a face-to-face fundraiser for various charities such as, Shelter, Centrepoint, Cancer Research UK, UNICEF, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Red Cross, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, RSPCA and Friends of the Earth.”
He was forced into homelessness twice. The first time Crisis supported him, it was 17 years ago. Recently, he was forced to leave the house he was sharing with his ex-partner during Covid lockdown and had to sofa surf at his friend’s house. Crisis supported him to be housed and clear his debt.
“I was first helped by Crisis about 17 years ago. I was rough sleeping at the time. They got me into a hostel. From there I moved into a room in a house, and then about a year later, I started fundraising.”
“Recently, I was living in a place in East London, but didn’t have a tenancy agreement. I came out of work for a little while, couldn’t pay the rent, became homeless, got in touch with Crisis.”
“I was sofa-surfing at the time, at a friend’s, from last September, and then come January, I got a place now. So rapid work from Crisis and my lead worker, Seetal.”
“I live in supported housing and have a support worker who keeps in touch. It’s a two-year tenancy, and then every two years, they renew it as long as everybody’s happy with that.”
“Not having a tenancy agreement makes everything less secure. Like you have no legal protection. It has a massive impact on your own self-worth and your mental health.”
“There were times where I wanted to have my kids over but I was told I couldn’t have visitors. You want to say, ‘Well, hold on. I’m paying rent here’ but because of no tenancy agreement, you are limited on what you can do. It did affect my relationship with my kids. Thankfully, that’s getting back on track now. It’s just not having that legal protection.”
Importance of having a home
“It’s gives you security; it gives you comfort. It'so important to have a home. From a young age, it’s life-forming. It gives you stability, it gives It’s exactly that; it’s home. It’s your safe place. It’s your quiet place. It’s your personal space. If you don’t want to go and see anyone, you don’t need to do that.”
“I see my daughter quite often now. My son, he works ridiculous hours in hospitality so not so much, but they can come over now. I’ve got a permanent place so they’re not coming round and sitting with mates where I’m sleeping on the sofa.”
George is struggling with arthritis at the moment and is having to take some off from work. However, now that he has a tenancy agreement, he feels more secure.
“Certain things are not going according to plan at the moment [with my health], but I'm more protected with a tenancy agreement now and I'm not going to have to leave again. Without a legal binding agreement, you have no stability, no stability at all.”
He is passionate about ending homelessness and is calling the government to take action and build more social housing.
“We can end homelessness through more social housing. It’s that simple.”
“The next government need to put housing at the forefront of their mind. Having a home can improve people’s mental health, self-esteem, and their employment opportunities. When people are in the street, they are vulnerable. They are begging. Imagine the difference it could make if they had a home they could go back to, lock their door and be safe?”
“I want the government to think differently. There is a misconception. No one wants to be out in the street. No one. Because people’s self-esteem has been affected, the system has failed them or they need mental health support, they might be stuck in a cycle. They think they aren’t going to get the support that they need. They deserve to be treated with dignity.”
“To people who are taking action, I would say keep pushing, keep fighting, shout louder. Without the services that are provided by organisations like Crisis, this issue would be far more widespread. Recently, Section 21 have been overturned, which is incredible, but it wouldn’t have happened without years of campaigning.”*
George is campaigning with Crisis as part of our Make History campaign.
We're calling on the UK government and all political parties to committ to a national mission to end homelessness. Find out how you can get involved.
*The Government has proposed scrapping section 21 evictions, also known as no-fault evictions. But the legislation to do so has not yet been passed.
By sharing stories we can change attitudes and build a movement for permanent, positive change. Stand against homelessness and help us end it for good.